Even those who do not watch that many movies love talking about the Oscars. Rarely do they ever do so for good reasons, however. Before the big night, there are conversations about the snubs and odd choices. After the winners have been announced, talk shifts to how bad the show was and how the Academy got it all wrong yet again.
That’s because the Oscars tends to suck.
Who should and should not have been nominated is subjective. After all, one person’s Street Trash is another person’s National Treasure. The quality of the show is a little easier to ascertain. From boring hosts to out of touch musical numbers, the cons always seem to far outnumber the pros. The most a person can hope for is the actual show is “meh”.
Against all odds, this year’s event was the best in years. The announcement there would be no host for the second year in a row was a wise decision. The expectations are too high and the time leading up to the show is a big game of gotcha. A celebrity has nothing to gain out of hosting the Oscars. That being said, it was also a choice that did not seem to matter much.
When the show aired last night, it quickly became apparent why there should never be another Oscar’s host again. The show flowed much smoother without one. There was no forced monologue, no rushed shot at the end with the host hurriedly saying goodnight, and no pained jokes in between. More time was given to montages and speeches. It felt like a cleaner show, overall.
The opening was fantastic. Janelle Monae had a fiery opening that paid tribute to the nominees and Oscar snubs like Midsommar. From the second she stepped onto the stage, Monae was the center of attention. She effortlessly controlled the crowd. It was exciting and fresh – basically the opposite of what people think about the Academy.
The same can be said for Utkarsh Ambudkar’s mid show recap. Done to a ?uestlove beat, the rap was was funny, had a great delivery, and was on point. Best of all it was straight and to the point. Ambudkar made sure that he did not wear out his welcome. These two bits seemed to be show the Oscars are finally catching up with the rest of the world.
The presenters also all did a fantastic job. With any awards show, the big worry is those handing out the awards will be too stale or will hog the spotlight. This was not the case with the 2020 Academy Awards. Sure, James Corden and Rebel Wilson were obnoxious, but who expected anything less when it was announced they would be presenting together?
Thankfully, everyone did a wonderful job. From Maya Rudolph and Kriten Wiig adding to the awesome musical numbers to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell poking fun at an award without belittling it, every presenter did something memorable. Hollywood also made an incredibly bold decision and avoided the usual back patting and self congratulatory speeches that cause eyerolls and laughs.
Which is not to say the show was without problems. The In Memoriam section seems to always fail to mention someone. Considering the Oscars generally ignores horror, the omission of Sid Haig was not very surprising. Someone should lose their job after leaving off Luke Perry, though. It may have been intentional, but leaving off a fan favorite actor is a film nominated for Best Picture seems silly.
As is usually the case, the show ran long. Unlike most years, there was nothing that was particularly bad. Here is where the really hard decisions have to be made. Eminem’s appearance was shocking, but unnecessary. The same can be said for Ambudkar’s great recap. Steve Martin and Chris Rock did a fabulous job introducing the show, but it seemed pointless after Monae’s strong opening.
None of these ruined the show, however. The overrun was not that big a deal and provided a great moment involving Parasite. The Oscars were a fun time thanks to some deserving winners and refreshing changes. Last night looked like the start of something new for the Academy Awards. Unfortunately, based on the ratings, it is more likely to be a welcome aberration.